American holly bushes on a fence in Delaware, a company that sets up an ice rink in Tampa, and a winter rodeo in Wyoming: U.S. states have their own spin on holiday festivities that never fail to turn heads and draw tourists. Some of the more interesting traditions include the following:
White sandy beaches at West Palm Beach offer a snow-less vacation option to holidaymakers. A hulking sandy tree called Sandi also awaits them. Fort Myers offers similar sandy peaks with a twist, courtesy of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Strings of lights light up the Edison and Ford estates from the beginning of December to the 31st.
The state capital of Tallahassee has its own version of light-spangled estates. The Tallahassee Winter Festival features a 2-mile hike of Christmas-garbed participants, Santa rides on fire trucks, and a park turned into a Candy Cane Lane. Fence companies in Tampa and other areas are also busy repairing and preparing the fences for holiday decorations.
The state tree, the American holly bush, gets a lot of work during the holidays in Delaware. Visitors are more than likely to see them at commercial establishments, where they’ll no doubt spend an inordinate amount of time, thanks to Delaware’s no sales tax policy.
The Brandywine Valley’s Longwood Gardens is transformed into a landscape of poinsettias and anthurium at the end of the year. The Nemours estate allows tours into its holiday-decorated abode. Light displays abound for Winter WonderFEST at Cape Henlopen State Park, where carnival rides, games, and ice rinks offer a good time.
Cowboy holidays, anyone? Wyoming has an actual Cowboy Christmas Ball for the boys and girls who do rodeo. But those looking for less yee-haw in the holidays can still find many things to do in Wyoming.
Campbell County boasts nearly a million lights for its animated Christmas show during their Festival of Light. The National Forest allows people to cut down their own Christmas tree, provided they have a permit. Landers is home to one of the biggest ice rinks in Wyoming and boasts plenty of other rinks for skaters. Lastly, you can go skiing with Santa Claus down in Jackson Hole.
The snow during the holidays in Alaska has an extra festive sense to it compared to the rest of the year. Perhaps it’s the Permanent Fund Dividend doling out more than $1,000 as part of the local laws on the oil money. Or the fact that Alaskans still celebrate the day their land was bought back from Russians—the day is appropriately called Alaska Day.
The Day the River Opens seems epic, and for fishers, it is as it is the day rivers thaw out enough that fishing can commence. Fur Rondy, or Fur Rendezvous, is the name of a three-day festival where the Iditarod sled dog race starts, fur is auctioned, and reindeer actually run down Fourth Avenue. Indigenous people and their culture are also celebrated with addresses from tribal leaders, traditional crafts, and dancing.
Wherever you’re celebrating the holidays in the future, remember to include your friends and family groups. Holiday blues is a real psychological phenomenon: less vitamin D from the sun, fatigue, commercialism, and pressure associated with it, and stress from work tend to work people up to a funk. Having a support system to help you get through the holidays will make the experience better, especially if you’re not the celebrating type.